I have wanted to write a book about Marilyn Monroe since I have been a teenager.
Marilyn has been a part of my life, honestly for the duration of my life. As a child born in the same city that was her final home, there was a deja vu feeling when I would walk down certain streets with my family, recalling famous images of a blonde beauty as she captured the breeze above a subway grating on a hot summer’s day.
Marilyn has remained etched in everyone’s minds, though some may not know much about her, or anything about her at all, she has remained intriguing to many.
And for me, I was one of the ones who plodded ahead and wished to learn everything about her possible.
That quest started at age nine when one day I was trying to keep myself occupied after having engaged in all of my outdoor play, I sat down and saw a book on my father’s shelf calling out to me. “Marilyn” it said on the book’s spine. It was a book by Norman Mailer filled with pictures throughout. That is when my journey began. I already knew who she was — I wanted to learn more about her.
Marilyn has since remained a part of my life and my adoration of her has brought many interesting people and adventures into my life. I work with those with relatives who are her second cousins. I also learned only in 2012, I am distantly related to her as well (again, distance is the operative word here — it’s a line through her maternal grandmother and my maternal grandfather — as a genealogist, still pretty cool regardless).
I have been blessed to be the guardian as well of several items that had been in her possession when she was here on this earth. And having surrounded myself with friends who are serious collectors of items that once belonged to her, it inspired me to start my own collection.
Not everything that I own in terms of memorabilia belonged to Marilyn. One of the microcosms of my collection started with collecting original vintage photographs and slides. As a photographer this intrigued me deeply.
Photographers hold a unique relationship with their subject. And in my career as a photojournalist, I’ve had the opportunity to take photos of a bevy of people, from those at the microphone at a council meeting to others enjoying a local event. Some of the others of whom my lens has captured in time have been politicians, some from our area all the way up to our Governor, as well as celebrities. I’ve had the chance to meet and/or be in the presence of television stars, musicians, news and television personnel, people on trial and even baseball and football heroes.
When I have a chance to review my pictures before submission, sometimes certain ones make my heart skip a beat as I realize, for one moment in time that person and I formed a bond. They looked directly into my camera and I, in turn, have given them a place in history with my pictures.
When I look at the photos of Marilyn in my keep, I feel the same way. There was a soldier, or even a photographer, some novice some expert, who had a “moment” with the world’s most famous star then, who is still famous now. What was it like to be in the presence of such greatness? Granted, like those I have photographed, they are and Marilyn was, a human being, and are like each of us in so many ways. Yet, their lives are so different. Somehow, they’ve made it to a place where they are making news, meeting people and having people intrigued by them.
What was it like to be the soldier whose photos I own, to be so close to Marilyn in Korea, we are able to see intricate details of her face and her hands, as well as a ring on her finger? Or for another, who captured Marilyn and Joe at a stop in images never seen before in color until I released them, on a rainy day in Japan?
There are other photos I haven’t released yet that are of other genres of Marilyn in New York, Marilyn on the set of one of her films and more, that are to come.
I felt that these pictures could not be kept to myself. In my career, I’ve crossed people who hoard historical images…and that is their choice. But what happens on the day that perhaps they land into the hands of someone else who doesn’t have an interest in them? Do they get filed away or forgotten about? Or do they get tossed out? In other words, it is a detriment to many when items of this nature are kept locked away by one or a few.
For me, publishing my book was about preservation of history. Plus, these photos were specifically timely, because of the sixtieth anniversary of Marilyn’s and Joe’s visit to Japan and her’s to Korea. I wanted to share my images with other fans and people…I couldn’t keep them to myself.
It also was about getting a story out about both Marilyn and Joe. The two of them have become myths in some ways, that stories about both of their lives have taken such twists and turns that as a journalist, I felt it my job to set the record straight on some topics. It has upset me over the years to read untruths about Marilyn (no, she didn’t sleep with the Kennedys for one) and more. My book reveals all this, while it intertwines the love story and individual biographies about both Marilyn and Joe.
It is also the year to remember Joe even more so, as he would have celebrated his hundredth birthday if he was still here.
Above all, for me, Marilyn and Joe are so enduring, I wanted to do this book, with their memories in mind, as a way to honor them. In fact, it’s dedicated “For Marilyn and Joe With Love.”
I do hope what I have written has piqued your interest on the topics of Marilyn and Joe. As I’d written about this book in the preface:
“This book touches on the respective and phenomenal careers of both Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio, in each of their worlds. It especially highlights and celebrates the sixtieth anniversary of the nearly one-month period of their lives during their nine-month marriage that they took the trip to Japan, and she to Korea. This was a time especially pivotal for Marilyn Monroe both personally and professionally. And amazingly and sadly, in slightly over eight years following this milestone, Marilyn would earn her angel wings.”
“This book weaves in elements about baseball, entertainment, the military, the tragedies of stardom, and above all, the love Marilyn and Joe shared.”
“Today, both Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe remain stars on this earth, as much as they do so in heaven.”
My book is available in print and is color with over 70 images. It’s also in an eBook format, though the full series of images is only available in print. You can find the book on Amazon, Book Depository, CreateSpace, FlipKart and more (print) as well as Kindle, NOOK, Kobo, Google Books, iTunes, FlipKart, Smashwords and more (eBook).